egypt alexandria horse and carriage

Alexandria Extension

Crossroads of the Ancient World


Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria is the crossroads of the ancient world, and prospered as the Mediterranean’s most glorious city under the Ptolemies, the dynastic Greek family that reigned as pharaohs over Egypt. Our extension includes explorations of the Roman Amphitheater (the only one in Egypt), Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the extensive Alexandria National Museum, and  the Catacombs of Kom El Shugafa, the largest Roman burial site discovered in Egypt.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Cairo and transfer to the hotel for overnight. (Most trip members take this as a pre-trip extension)...Meals on your own

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Day 2
Alexandria / Roman Amphitheater / Alexandria Library and Museum

With your guide, journey on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road to Alexandria. Upon arrival, explore the Roman Amphitheater, discovered quite recently during excavations for a new apartment building. This well-preserved theater once stood with 13 semi-circular tiers of white marble imported from Europe, and contains galleries, sections of mosaic flooring, and marble seats for up to 800 spectators. At one point, it may have even been roofed over to serve as an Odeon for musical performances. Some inscriptions suggest that it was sometimes used for wrestling contests. We then enjoy a visit to the Qait Bey Fort, a 15th century Mamluk fort built on the foundations of the Pharos lighthouse that includes both a mosque and a castle inside its walls. After lunch, we visit the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, not only a library but also an integrated cultural complex (please note that the library complex is closed on Friday and Saturday). It stands on what is thought to be the site of the ancient Library of Alexandria, built by Ptolemy I. The largest library of antiquity, the Library of Alexandria was frequented by scholars from all over the Mediterranean from the 4th century BC to its eventual destruction by fire 700 years later. Overnight at Steigenberger Cecil Hotel...BL

Alexandria: The history of the Alexandria region stretches back thousands of years, well before the time of Alexander. Greek literature from Homer’s time recognized the island of Pharos as a busy harbor for ships laden with goods from Crete, Phoenicia, and the Aegean. A causeway known as the Heptastadion was constructed to link the mainland of Alexandria to the island of Pharos, thus creating two remarkable harbors. The famous Lighthouse at Pharos, one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was built in the 3rd century BC under Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II. It rose to over 300 feet, casting a bright light that could be seen for many miles. The lighthouse was toppled by an earthquake in 1323 and now lies in pieces in the harbor, visible to divers underwater.

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Day 3
Alexandria National Museum / Cairo

Visit the Alexandria National Museum, with its thousands of artifacts spanning the ages from the Pharaonic Era through the Greco-Roman period in Egypt. Papyrus scrolls, perfume bottles, and painted mummy cases are tastefully displayed, as well as classic Greek statues showing the physical beauty that represents the ideals of that culture. Later, we visit the Catacombs of Kom El Shugafa, the largest Roman burial site discovered in Egypt. The three tiers of tombs and chambers are cut into the bedrock to a depth of over 100 feet. Constructed in the 2nd century AD as a single-family crypt, these tombs were later expanded to hold more than 300 individual tombs. There is even a banquet hall where grieving relatives paid their last respects with a funereal feast. Though the motifs are pure ancient Egyptian, the architects and artists were schooled in the Greco-Roman style, resulting in an amazingly integrated artwork quite unlike anything else in the world. We return to Cairo in the afternoon. Overnight at Cairo group hotel (this is Day 1 of the regular trip)...BL


Length: 3 days
Cost From: $1725  
Arrive: Cairo, Egypt
Depart: Cairo, Egypt
Lodging: 2 nights hotels
Meals: Meals as indicated
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Cultural explorations and walking tours

Visa Requirements

A visa is required for U.S. citizens visiting Egypt. You can obtain your visa on arrival.